The ‘Stolen Moments’ of Rock Photographer Harold Sherrick

harold sherrick stolen moments cover

Veteran rock photographer Harold Sherrick has finally collected his favorite photos in a book, after years of fans, friends and family urging him to get on with it.

Aptly titled “Stolen Moments” and published in October 2019 by Genius Book Publishing/New Galleon, Sherrick’s first book packs 180 pages with his favorite black & white and color images he shot at concerts and events over the past four decades, mostly in the Los Angeles area, where he was based.

Rock photographer Harold Sherrick, 2019. Photo: Henry Diltz.
Rock photographer Harold Sherrick, 2019. Photo: Henry Diltz.

Captured in “Stolen Moments,” among many others, are images of (in no particular order) Neil Young, Mick Jagger, Sting, Bono, Cheryl Crow, Quincy Jones, David Bowie, Tori Amos, June Carter Cash, John Entwistle, Joni Mitchell, Richie Havens, Iggy Pop, AC/DC, The Ramones, Iggy Pop, Joss Stone, The Bee Gees, Joe Walsh, Ringo Starr, Dave Grohl, Ray Charles, John Fogerty, Stevie Wonder, Willie Nelson, Chrissie Hynde, Pete Townshend and, on the cover, Tom Petty.

Many of the images are candids, hence the title, but Sherrick also included lots of portraits.

“If you see something about to happen, get it,” Sherrick says. “Put the camera up and click. Two seconds later you won’t have the chance again. You have to look for those stolen moments.”

The book is available via Genius at https://geniusbookpublishing/newgalleon (hardcover) or Amazon at (softcover).

For more info, contact Steven W. Booth at Genius Book Publishing/New Galleon at 818-585-9945 or

Sherrick and this reporter spoke about “Stolen Moments” on Oct. 24, 2019; highlights of our conversation follow.

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harold sherrick strawberry alarm clock
Strawberry Alarm Clock, on location, North Hollywood, 2017. Photographer Harold Sherrick: “Strawberry Alarm Clock is a psychedelic rock band formed in 1967. They were recreating the cover of their ‘Incense and Peppermints’ album for the 50th anniversary of its original release. They rented a soundstage for four or five hours, and it took more than an hour to get everything set up. They used the same backdrop, brought the sitar, and rented the old chair. They even had the woman who did the original pillows and scarves provide some of the props. Everyone got into the same costumes and they tried to pose the same way they did 50 years before, except the guy on the bottom left, next to the sitar, who had only been with the band 28 years. This is actually one of the outtakes – they didn’t use it for the cover.”

‘A Mixed Bag’

“It’s a mixed bag of photos I’ve done throughout the last probably 35 years, 40 years,” said Sherrick, who freelanced, shot for magazines and record companies, and was the go-to photographer for controversial Hollywood music biz luminaries such as Phil Spector and Kim Fowley, both of whom are pictured in “Stolen Moments.”

“I didn’t do a theme-based thing where it’s just a select group of artists,” Sherrick said. “I just spent a lot of time going through my archive, trying to pick out the photos that caught my eye, that I have a special memory of.”

Sherrick wanted the mix to be accessible not only to someone who’s not too familiar with photography but also to those who have a love for it, “and just to present my own stories, my own experiences shooting the various images,” he said, which he does in brief captions collected on the back pages.

About the book’s candids, or stolen moments, Sherrick said, “I’ve always wanted to be like a fly on the wall when I have my camera with me and try not to be in the way.

“Some people have made fun and said, ‘Oh, you’re a paparazzi!’ And frankly, I resent that term because I am not a paparazzi,” he said. “My stuff is true to what I’m doing as far as shooting rock ‘n’ roll, and I’ve been invited to everything I’ve ever shot. So, yeah, I’ve always tried to capture something casual, something that the subject wasn’t aware of.”

harold sherrick - buddy guy
Buddy Guy, The Roxy, West Hollywood, 1993. Photo: Harold Sherrick.

Raised in the Newsroom

Sherrick’s passion for photography dates back to his childhood in Los Angeles in the early ’60s.

“My father, Herb Sherrick, was a newspaperman who worked for the L.A. Herald-Examiner,” he said, referring to the city’s afternoon newspaper, the nation’s largest at the time (the paper folded in November 1989).

“Ever since I can remember, when I was very, very young, he always took me down to the newspaper offices, and around to the various (departments),” he said. “The one that did stick out was the photographers’ office where all the photos were lying all over the desks waiting for the evening edition, whether it was sports or crime or human interest. It was all black-and-white in those days. I’ve always had a great affection for black-and-white photography.

“So I started playing with cameras when I was about 7 or 8 years old,” Sherrick said. “I had a little Brownie Junior box camera and when I was a kid I used to take that out and shoot my friends or just shoot scenery. As time went on, I graduated up and was finally able to get a decent 35mm camera, but that wasn’t for quite a while yet, probably in the late ‘70s or early ‘80s. That’s when I really started getting serious about shooting music and music events.”

Sherrick’s first “decent” 35mm camera was an Olympus OM-10, “but I just fell in love with Nikon after that, and started buying Nikons in the ’80s,” he said. He still has Nikon 35mm cameras but now shoots Nikon digital, mostly. “I also shoot with a Mamiya 120 because I really love shooting medium format when I’m doing portraits or landscapes.”

harold sherrick - tori amos
Tori Amos, Greek Theatre, Hollywood, 1996. Photo: Harold Sherrick.

Favorites: Tori Amos at the Greek, 1996

Peeples: There are so many remarkable images in the book. One of my favorites is Tori Amos leaning back at the piano, clearly in The Zone. I think it’s stunning both from an editorial standpoint and a technical standpoint.

Sherrick: I was shooting her at the Greek Theatre. We weren’t shooting the show itself; we were all called to be there during soundcheck in the afternoon. It was me and maybe eight or nine other photographers. We were able to stand right at the edge of the stage about five, six feet away from her and her grand piano. She came out and said hello to us, sat there and just played a song for us so we were able to get what we needed.

I got a lot of great things that day, but that one shot where she’s leaning back, just looks very orgasmic, if that’s a good description or not. She was just so lost in the music and playing and singing. That’s one of my favorite shots, too. It ran in a couple of different publications right after that, and I got several phone calls stating how wonderful the shot was. I was so proud of this photo because to get this shot and her expression, I had to really keep my eye on her the whole time, because she’s very animated.

harold sherrick - june carter cash
June Carter Cash, The Troubadour, West Hollywood, 1999. Photo: Harold Sherrick.

Favorites: June Carter Cash at the Troubadour, 1999

Sherrick: One I really had to work for, to get so close, is the shot of June Carter Cash, with her head bowed slightly, her eyes closed and her hands are resting on the autoharp. That was one of the shows she played at the Troubadour in 1999 when her solo album “Press On” came out. She was sittin’ on that stool up there on stage just playing, and there was this dramatic moment, I think it was the end of the song, where she strummed the last chord and just bowed her head with her eyes closed for a second, and her hands were in front of her. I just thought, “Oh, my God, this is it.”

When I did get it printed up, I took it over to Henry Diltz, and he stopped dead in his tracks, took a double-take, and kept staring at it. He goes, “Oh, my God, Harold this is beautiful. Look at her hands!” And I’d thought the same thing because you could see the lines in her hands, you could see her whole life as a musician in the age in her hands. So that caught his eye as well as mine.

harold sherrick - walter cronkite

Broadcast news legend Walter Cronkite, Vroman’s Bookstore, Pasadena, 1996. Photographer Harold Sherrick: “He was signing copies of his autobiography, ‘A Reporter’s Life,’ which had just launched earlier in the year. I admired Walter for his great reporting and integirty. I think this photo really captures what it was like to be in the room with him. Even though he’s not in the music industry, I couldn’t resist including him in the book.”

Favorites: Walter Cronkite, Pasadena, 1996

Peeples: “Stolen Moments” is full of rock stars, and then you get later on in the book, on page 155, there’s a photo of Walter Cronkite, the legendary CBS television news anchor.

Sherrick: (Laughs) I know, I know. I just thought, “Let’s throw this in there just to throw a curveball.” Walter Cronkite, to me, was one of the greatest news anchormen there ever was. I was always a big, big fan of his. My father watched him every night when he’d get home from work on the “CBS Evening News,” as well as myself. I just remember all the historic stories Cronkite reported on, everything from the Kennedy Assassination to the Democratic Convention of ’68, the (Chicago) riots. He was just such an iconic person. He wasn’t a musician, but he just made such an impact on me.

When I met and photographed him, he was everything I thought he was: He had integrity, he was classy, he had manners. He was just incredible, larger than life. I asked my publisher and he said, “Yeah, do it, it’s off the wall and maybe it’ll make a great conversation piece.” So, that’s why I stuck him in there.

Peeples: Considering your news-junkie background and that a lot of people of a certain age, especially media-savvy folks, think of Cronkite as a broadcast news rock star, I don’t think it’s inappropriate for him to be in “Stolen Moments” at all.

Bowling with Phil Spector

Sherrick: I got into Phil’s inner circle through the Kessel brothers, David and Dan Kessel. David and I went to high school together. David and I had met in 1969, and we got to be really good friends then, and then we lost touch after we graduated.

I know he was full-bore with Phil at that time because he was doin’ all those sessions with Phil, you know, everything from the” Rock ‘n’ Roll” sessions with Lennon to Leonard Cohen, all that stuff Phil was doing.

Maybe 1991 I reconnected with David and Dan when they called me and said, “Hey, you wanna shoot for Phil? He needs a guy. We know you. We told Phil that you could be trusted to come in,” and this and that. And I said, “Absolutely, I’ll be there with bells on,” I told ‘em.

So I started shooting for Phil in ’93, and the first big gig I did was at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame ceremony in L.A. Phil came with the guys, and that was the first time I really had taken a bunch of different shots of him.

Then I was just basically employed by him off and on, off and on a couple times in the ‘90s, but then it went really full-time like in ’99, 2000, when Phil started having his parties again, his Christmas parties, his bowling parties. Phil hired me to just shoot his parties and hang out, which I did, all the way until he got himself in trouble with the whole murder thing.

harold sherrick - joe strummer
Joe Strummer, Palace Theatre, 1999. Photographer Harold Sherrick: “This was one of Joe’s last shows before he passed away in 2002. He played with The Clash and was now playing as Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros…I liked this shot because his mouth was not open singing, but he seemed to be between thoughts, and I liked his expression.”

On the Cover: Tom Petty at The Forum, 2002

Sherrick: The shot was taken at the L.A. Forum; it was November 2002 when the album “The Last DJ” came out. Jackson Browne opened for him. It was a very, very nice gig, low-key, holiday weekend thing, even though I’m pretty sure the gig was sold out.

But it was only myself and one other photographer, I think it was Steve Granitz. He was a photographer I used to know many many years ago in Hollywood. I think he’s still shooting there. But he and I were literally the only two photographers in the pit, nobody else.

We were backstage waiting to go into the pit when Tom’s assistant came out, or somebody who actually worked closely with Tom came out and told me and this other photographer that we could shoot the whole show and there wasn’t gonna be a three-song limit. We could stay as long as we liked and shoot the whole show if we liked. We were ecstatic about that because as you know, in those days, even now especially, they just don’t let you do that.

I didn’t stay the whole show because I ran out of film. I stayed half the show and shot everything I brought with me, which was quite a bit. This was the third or fourth time I had shot Tom over the years, and he always seemed to come over to the edge of the stage when he saw us. I don’t know if he did it on purpose, but he always made an effort to look like he was just going to pose for us for a second.

So that particular shot, he came right over toward me. I nodded and said, “Hello, Tom,” and he stood there, dropped his hands, smiled, and I caught this shot. I thought, “This is it. This is one of the best.”

I always had that shot in mind, no matter if I was gonna do a book or use it in a gallery show, which I have. But for the book, right away I thought, “Well, I really wanna use this.” The occasion, of course, was sad because Tom had passed away the year before we started on it. But I thought, “I gotta use this shot.” It takes my breath away.

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Here’s our unedited audio interview.

Stephen K. Peeples, Ellen Berman and Harold Sherrick at mutual friend Neal Preston’s “Exhausted and Exhilarated” book signing and Q&A, with Neal in the BG behind Harold, at the Leica Gallery in West Hollywood, January 18, 2018.

Santa Clarita journalist and Grammy nominee Stephen K. Peeples was raised by career newspaper journalists and music-lovers in Miami and Los Angeles. He earned a Grammy nomination as co-producer of the “Monterey International Pop Festival” (Rhino/MIPF, 1992) box set with Lou Adler and Geoff Gans. Peeples was the original, award-winning producer of “The Lost Lennon Tapes” radio series for Westwood One from 1988-1990. His first music industry gig was as an Associate Editor at Cash Box magazine in Hollywood in 1975. He went on to be a Media Relations-PR executive for Capitol Records (1977-1980), Elektra/Asylum Records (1980-1983) and Rhino Entertainment (1992-1998). He was Rhino’s first web editor (1996-1998), then elevated to content editor of Warner Music Group websites (1998-2001). In the Santa Clarita Valley just north of L.A., Peeples was the award-winning Online Editor for The Signal newspaper’s website from 2007-2011, and wrote-hosted-co-produced SCVTV’s WAVE-nominated “House Blend” local music TV show from 2010-2015 (archived online and still airing in reruns). He is now a News Editor at, Editor/Features Writer for Wealth Wisdom Wellness magazine, and VP/New Media Emeritus for Rare Cool Stuff UnltdFor more info and original stories, visit exclusive behind-the-scenes interviews, subscribe to Peeples’ YouTube channel.

Article: The ‘Stolen Moments’ of Rock Photographer Harold Sherrick
Category: News and Reviews
Author: Stephen K. Peeples
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